Nonprofits and organizations that rely on the help of volunteers to execute important tasks and programs understand how vital communication is to keep their volunteers engaged. To help you stay connected with your volunteer team, we have created a list of communication tips to get you started.
SET CLEAR COMMUNICATION EXPECTATIONS
Once you have recruited a new volunteer and begin the on-boarding and training process, it is essential to clearly explain how you communicate with your volunteers.
For example, suppose you have invested in a volunteer management software with a volunteer mobile app that sends communications and notifications. In that case, you will need to request that the volunteer download the app and used it for all shift related questions. Or if you only share new volunteer opportunities through email, you should instruct them to check their email for those opportunities routinely.
When you carefully inform volunteers of your organization's communication channels and expectations, it eliminates any confusion and frustration right from day one.
KEEP IT CONCISE AND CONSISTENT
Jargon and filler words in written and verbal communication can cause instant confusion and issues within an organization. Keep your organization's emails clear and simple, and avoid sending emails to volunteers that aren't relevant to them. Consider sending a monthly newsletter or communication emails that keep volunteers informed of all positive impact your volunteer programs are making and inform them of any upcoming volunteer opportunities.
If you collect in-depth data during the volunteer registration process like interest and skills, you can use it to tailor your email communication further. This provides the volunteer a better experience with your organization, making them feel understood and appreciated, which in turn helps with retention.
Also, be sure to deliver consistent answers and feedback to volunteers so that everyone remains on the same page. When communication issues get out of hand, you can briefly train on your preferred communication protocols within the organization.
GET FEEDBACK FROM STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS
Nobody knows your organization's communication style like those within it. Seek out feedback from your volunteers and staff members to see what your organization is doing well and what improvements would benefit your nonprofit regarding its communication style. You can collect feedback with a few different methods, but one simple and easy way is by creating an online survey with open-ended questions that you can send out to your volunteers and employees via email. To encourage feedback, have a raffle for an exciting prize that only those who finish the survey can enter, or allow volunteers to count their feedback time as volunteer hours.
Looking to learn more about getting feedback from your volunteers? Check out - Creating An Effective Volunteer Survey
DEDICATE VOLUNTEER POSITIONS TO COMMUNICATION
If your organization consistently struggles to get communication in order, consider recruiting new volunteers or reallocating current volunteers to handle communication within the organization. Assigning a small group of people to serve as a liaison or waypoint among different branches of the organization can have a positive impact on a nonprofit's communication woes. Ensure that the volunteers that will handle communication are all trained using a consistent and sufficient protocol, so that they all handle communications in the same way.
EMPLOY VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE
Volunteer management software can be a game-changer when it comes to communications within nonprofit organizations. InitLive's Volunteer Management Solution provides tools that help with volunteer recruitment, scheduling, and communication and can reduce volunteer no-shows by 20%. This software also provides volunteers with a mobile app that allows instant two-way messaging with supervisors, greatly reducing the odds of errors from miscommunications. Additionally, it tracks tons of data that will help your organization determine areas of improvement and volunteer performance.
Poor communication can cause an infinite number of headaches and nightmares within a nonprofit, but your organization can steer clear of most of these issues by following the tips above.